Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Analyzing the BCS quarterbacks: Strong, smart, inspiring

It doesn't happen often that two Heisman Trophy-winning quarterbacks face one another, but that's what happens in tonight's Bowl Championship Series national title game when 2008 winner Sam Bradford leads Oklahoma against 2007 winner Tim Tebow and Florida. Both have mind-numbing numbers. Bradford, right, has completed 302 of 442 passes (68.3 percent) for 4,464 yards and 48 touchdowns and just six interceptions. Tebow, bottom right, is 174-for-268 (64.9 percent) for 2,515 yards and 28 touchdowns and only two interceptions; he has 564 yards rushing and 12 scores. But how do they compare? Well, ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit, himself a pretty fair quarterback during his days at Ohio State, offered his analysis in three key areas:

Arm strength

That's the biggest misconception about these guys. I personally have seen Sam play a lot of football this year, and I think he has plenty of arm. What people don't appreciate with him, he doesn't throw a lot of deep balls, but he throws a tight spiral, has a quick release and has plenty of arm strength. With Tim, because of the style of play, the way he's physically built, the fact that he runs over the top of people, people don't appreciate what he does throwing the football. Yet if you go back and look at the last game the Gators played in, the SEC title game against Alabama, he made three or four crucial third downs that he wasn't running over the top of anybody; it was his arm. He's got plenty of arm strength to make the throws he needed to make.


They throw it where it needs to be thrown. … Sam is blessed to be in an offense that, right now, is almost like they're going against air. They pretty much do whatever they want to do. The running lanes are 5 feet wide. They make you come up and respect the run, and then they get one-on-one matchups on the outside and he has all day to throw the football. I don't know if I've seen a grass stain on his jersey this year. He's just been untouched. He's incredibly accurate. I'm anxious to see when he goes up against the best defense that he's faced all year how he'll respond and how the offense will respond to the speed and the tenacity that Florida will bring to the table. Tim's ability to run it really forces defenses to play a little more conservatively on the outside. He's so dynamic and so physical, his style takes away from people appreciating his throwing. If he were 190 pounds and he was out there dropping back and throwing the same passes, people would say, "Wow. This guy can really throw it."


For Sam, it's probably the one area he's grown the most, from watching him have a great year in '07 to having a great year in '08 — he's become more vocal. By nature, he's quiet, and being so young and being so good so early in his career, he let some of the other players be leaders (in 2007), but this year he realized he was the guy. I can't tell you how many times I've watched him pull guys around him (and talk), almost a Joe Montana thing. On the other side, you're watching a quarterback I think is redefining the intangibles of that position. I've never in my life seen a quarterback inspire, not just his linemen and skill players around him, but the defense, the special teams, the coaches, an entire fan base. … His humility, his work ethic, his competitiveness, it's all genuine. It's who he is. He's a once-in-a-lifetime-type leader. It's the thing that separates him from a lot of quarterbacks I've watched.

Analyzing the BCS quarterbacks: Strong, smart, inspiring 01/07/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, January 7, 2009 6:05pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Former Gator Caleb Brantley paying a steep price for nothing


    It turns out Caleb Brantley isn't quite the dirtbag that millions of people presumed. It's too bad the damage to his reputation and bank account is already done.

    Caleb Brantley, who dropped to the sixth round of the draft, works out during Browns rookie minicamp. [Associated Press]
  2. Rays let early lead get away again in loss to Angels (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — As pleased as the Rays were to win consecutive series against the contending Red Sox, Indians and Yankees and to get briefly back over .500, there was a lot of talk in the clubhouse before Monday's game against the Angels that it was time to do better.

    Daniel Robertson walks off the field after being left stranded at first base to end the game.
  3. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Monday's Rays-Angels game

    The Heater

    OF/DH Corey Dickerson missed out on a good birthday gift when AL player of the week honors went instead to Detroit's J.D. Martinez. Dickerson hit .385 with five homers, nine RBIs and nine runs; Martinez went .389-4-9-7 and got the nod.

  4. Rays journal: Alex Cobb learning to work with what he has



    If this were 2012 or 2013, even 2014, RHP Alex Cobb would have problems. He would find himself working with only two of his three pitches, with the missing pitch being his trusty changeup.

    Alex Cobb, working mainly with his fastball and curveball, is 3-1 with a 2.78 ERA over his past five starts. The Rays right-hander tries to continue his strong stretch tonight against the Angels.